Tuesday, January 22, 2008

NHL in Touch

This is what I've been waiting for.

Last year, Alyssa Milano (Charmed, Melrose Place, Who's the Boss?) partnered with MLB to create a line of clothing for female baseball fans like herself. It was an instant hit.

Now, she is coming out with a similar line for NHL fans!

The NHL released a press release this morning confirming that Alyssa Milano will be co-hosting the 2008 NHL All-Star Rockin' Skate Event, something we already knew. As a bonus, she will also be signing autographs. Most importantly, this collaboration is to celebrate the launch of the "Touch" female fashion line.

Touch is designed by Alyssa, and it truly does blend fashion and function. The garments will be produced by G-III Apparel Group and will be on sale by early February. That includes outerwear, sets, fashion tops, denim, dresses and more...

Of course, all the items will be flattering to a women's curves ;)

Touch - by Alyssa Milano apparel will be sold on Shop.NHL.com, in the team stores, and even in some retail stores!!

"I am really excited about TOUCH's partnership with the National Hockey League,” said Alyssa Milano in the NHL press release. “I am looking forward to giving female hockey fans fashion apparel as unique and special as the sport they love."

“High fashion and team loyalty come together in the TOUCH clothing line,” said Brian Jennings, NHL Executive Vice President Marketing. “We are thrilled to offer this exciting line of apparel to our female fans and look forward to Alyssa's appearance at the 2008 NHL All-Star Weekend in Atlanta.”

I know I just can't wait! :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Feature!

Of the written kind, I mean.

Here's the piece I wrote on the goalies of the Concordia University women's hockey team, the Stingers. It was published in today's edition of the Link.


Passion brings Stingers goalies together

But a little competition is healthy for women's hockey teammates

By Naila Jinnah

On paper, Concordia Stingers goaltenders Meggy Hatin-Léveillée, Audrey Doyon-Lessard and Stephanie Peck don’t have much in common, apart from sharing a spot on the women’s hockey team.

A quick glance at the roster shows that the girls have different eligibility years, come from different CÉGEPs and are in programs that couldn’t be more different: honours psychology, exercise science and marketing respectively. But one look at these three masked warriors and all those differences come crashing to the ice.

Goalies are a special breed, a saying that rings especially true for collegiate teams. For years, these girls have been the only goaltenders on their team, left aside at practices while the rest of the players worked on drills. They have become more self-sufficient than their teammates, often learning on their own and from their own mistakes. They have been the starting goalie every game—by default. But CÉGEP brought not only a new level of play but also a new reality—competing for the starting spot with at least two other girls.

This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, there is the risk of spending most of the season on the bench rather than on the ice. On the other hand, practices are a bit more fun when you have a companion to run goaltending drills with.

“With the three of us, practice is more fun, because it’s like a team of goalies!” said Hatin-Léveillée, laughing with her goaltending partners.

“Being goalie is a very special bond,” she added. “Aside from our field of study, we really understand each other, even if others don’t. We know we can rely on the other two to understand, so we don’t feel awkward or out of place.”

Hatin-Léveillée and Doyon-Lessard have been splitting the load for one season, but Peck joined the team this year. They were an instant fit.

“I totally felt welcome with them,” said rookie Peck. “I knew right away that they got along really well because it showed. It really makes a difference when you get along with your goalie partner.”

This year, the girls need to get along with someone else too. For the first time in four years, the Stingers have added a goalie coach to their staff. Dave Paré gets on the ice with the girls during practice and his feedback is definitely appreciated.

“Last year we couldn’t improve on anything because no one would tell us what the problems were,” Hatin-Léveillée said. “But this year, in practice, our coach tells us what we do and we can improve our game.”

“It makes us feel more part of a team and more important, in a way.”

“I think it shows that we just prioritize the goaltending and that it’s really important,” said Peck. “We need that kind of help and it’s good to have that kind of support.”

The girls also get a lot of support from each other—they spend a lot of time together and the comfortable chemistry that was established during training camp turned into friendly competition as the season started. At the beginning, Hatin-Léveillée and Doyon-Lessard were the goaltending duo of choice, and while Hatin-Léveillée got many starts, there was no clear-cut number one goalie. But on Oct. 28, 2007, Doyon-Lessard was injured in a game at Carleton University.

“I tried to cover the puck and was going forward, but the girl sort of skated on my head,” explained Doyon-Lessard.

She was diagnosed with a concussion, an injury that is particularly hard to recover from since it requires complete rest. After over two months on the injured reserve list, Doyon-Lessard finally made it back between the pipes on Jan. 6, 2008 for the championship game of the Theresa Humes tournament, replacing starter Hatin-Léveillée. The Stingers lost 7-0 to McGill.

“It was great for me to play,” Doyon-Lessard said after the game, “but I didn’t like the reason why I had to go in.”

Meanwhile, Peck was back at her usual seat in the stands. The third goalie is often lost in the rush, but she is just as much a member of the team as the other girls. Like Doyon-Lessard when she was injured, Peck needs to attend all practices and games, even if she’s not dressing for the latter. The average observer doesn’t notice her, but she is far from invisible to her teammates. And while the seats in the stands are mostly comfortable, it’s not Peck’s spot of choice.

“It’s really tough coming in as a third goalie,” she said. “People don’t understand unless they’ve lived it.”

“With goalies, there are only three spots, and two that dress,” said Hatin-Léveillée. “With players, there’s a lot more room to work with. They have twelve!”

“I’ve lived it,” she added, “and now Steph is going through it.”

“It’s a real learning experience,” Peck said. “It’s definitely going to make me better for it. Stronger. It’s humbling too, because you have to earn it. Everybody has to pay their dues.”

The bond between these three girls is apparent in their interactions on and off the ice, and their unofficial ranking on the roster is not of much concern to them.

“We try to stay together and keep it equal in practices,” Hatin-Léveillée said. “And come game time, for sure there’s going to be a goalie who plays and a goalie who doesn’t dress. I think that’s the only time that there’s a difference.”

“In practice, we don’t see number one, number two, number three. We don’t see a difference.”

But for Hatin-Léveillée, having a new partner in crime didn’t change the way she approached the game. Competition is important, but the girls each have a different role to play on the team. They push each other in positive ways.

“It’s never taken for granted,” Hatin-Léveillée said. “I’m not number one for sure. We have to work for it, earn it, and if I play a good game, more points for me!”

“It’s a competition, but at the same time it’s healthy, because we’re not bitching about it and we’re not being mean about it. We want our spot and we want to deserve it. If I don’t feel like I deserve it, I don’t want to be the one in nets.”

“It’s not like if someone has a bad game, you’re like ‘yes!’ You put the team first,” Peck agreed.

“We all can do it, and we all know that everyone here can stop the puck wherever it is,” said Hatin-Léveillée. “When it happens that we have bad games, we know it’s a mental thing. So we go up to each other and tell the other goalie to get back in there and to be strong mentally.”

The girls don’t really see each other outside of hockey, although that’s probably a good thing. With practice, workout sessions, school and homework, it’s hard to find time to relax, not to mention that non-hockey friends tend to get jealous.

“You’re with each other every day,” said Doyon-Lessard. “We see each other more than our family!”

It is this commitment to the game that enables the girls to make these sacrifices. Their love for hockey is apparent on and off the ice, and their passion brings them together just as it divides them.

“We have that thing in common that we love to come here to play hockey in the morning,” said Hatin-Léveillée.

“But like it or not, we’re here to play hockey, and we all want the same thing,” concluded Peck.


Thursday, January 10, 2008


Alexander Ovechkin just signed a multi-year deal that has been rumoured to earn him $124 million dollars over 13 years. That's the first six years at $9 mil and then next seven years at $10 mil.

Okay, so I love hockey and all, but, are you serious?!

$10 million?! What does one do with 10 million dollars a year?!

Sure, about half of that gets eaten up in taxes (if you're in Canada), and you've got to pay for a house and utilities you barely use... But all your travel and accommodations are paid by the team. You even get meal vouchers and/or a daily stipend.

Sure, it's nice to party once in a while when you're not at work, and as a "celebrity" you need good looking (read expensive) clothes.

Still, $10 million dollars is a whole lot of cash! But somehow, for some reason, I don't think he's gonna donate, say, 1 year's salary to charity. Not in a chunk, that's for sure. And chances are, even if he does make donations, they won't total up to 10% of his total gross salary. As in $12.4 million.

I don't mean to rag on Alexander Ovechkin. There are other superstars out there being locked up for longterm multi(gazillion) million dollar deals and entertainers racking up millions for one project. This is just the latest case in a series of (un)fortunate events.

Lets just take a second to put things into perspective.

* Half the world - nearly 3 billion people - live on less than $2 a day.

* Every year 15 million children die of hunger.

* Every day, about 25,000 people die from hunger, most of them children

* Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger, but...

* It is estimated that some 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition, about 100 times as many as those who actually die from it each year.

Closer to home,

* One out of every eight children under the age of twelve in the U.S. goes to bed hungry every night.


Now consider this...

* The combined wealth of the world’s 200 richest people hit $1 trillion in 1999; the combined incomes of the 582 million people living in the 43 least developed countries is $146 billion.

That's insane. What's more insane is this:

* The cost of ending world hunger completely is about $195 billion a year.

And there are more shocking statistics available online about how a little bit of money can change a lot. And check this out!

We can raise the $195 billion if, for every $100 made in Canada, the country donates 30 cents. In the US, that's 17 cents.

That's not too hard to do, yet we prefer to pay exorbitant amounts of money to watch 40 grown men take to the ice. (And yes, I do this too...)


Oh, and just fyi...

During the 2 minutes it took to read this post, 33 people died of extreme poverty.

I'm all for hockey players getting million dollar contracts. It's a tough life, I get it. Maybe you can't donate your whole paycheck... taxes eat up most of it anyway. Still, I don't think it's right to pay someone $10 million a year to lace up skates where there's so much more we could be doing with the money.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Something new...

Lets try something new! When I can, I usually live blog the post-game comments off RIS Info's live locker room and press conference coverage. This usually gets posted for a few friends, sometimes on Mike Boone's blog on HabsInsideOut.com, and I figured, why not share it with the rest of the world!

So here are tonight's clip from the locker room and the press conference. Ignore the typos and quick formatting... Live typing is kinda tough. I now understand the closed captioners.

Lats on his winning goal: "I actually thought Max was going to dump it so I was going behind the net."
Carbo'd planned gui and max in OT before, it just never happened
on the second: we were missing a lot of chances, breakaways, but we're happy about the victory

"You learn from the guys and you're gonna get better.We have a quite young centerman and he's a really good faceoff man. It's one of the things we're practicing and wanna improve but we're not as bad as people think."

"You try to make them comfy and push at the same time, teach them to do the little things right"
Saku thinks his wingers are comfortable, but says they all need to pay attention defensively.
on home: "3 out of 4 is not bad," but not satisfied with the way they played.

Huey: "We would have liked to have a better second but after we reacted well, esp in the third, we deserved the win. It was a sign of maturity to be able to come back, earlier in the season, we weren't able to come back from our mistakes."

Locke: "It's a great feeling, I've wanted to play in the NHL and with the habs since I was a kid. It was an honour. It was great, a great experience, I'm glad I got in the game, and I'm glad we won in OT, it's nice to get the win."
Surprised: How quick it is and you have to pay attention all the time no standing around

Max: on the winning goal
"When I saw him (Gui) at the center and saw he was giving me space, so I just tried to give him the puck and he scored.
He says he was trying to dump it behind, like Gui thought, but it turned into a pass and Gui scored. plus they have fun off the ice, so it's always fun to win, but because it's Gui it's even better.

3/4 is good. We would have liked 6/6 but after the Washington game, we talked about it, and I'm happy. It was a weird game, but a good one. It's always been a good rivalry, so it was fun to prepare this game, esp. against a team we don't always face.

We liked the way we were playing before Xmas, and we still have a bit of a letdown in the second, but I think it went really well.

Sometimes, you make decisions and it works. It had been a couple of games I hadn't used them (Max and Gui), but I had a feeling, and so I put them on the ice. Max had already been there for 20 seconds, and it turned out well!

More in English: I thought they had a good game. Max has been really good for us since he'd been called up, and Gui had a really good game with a lot of chances around the net. Last game in overtime, I didn't use them, but like I said, sometimes, you just have a feeling.

We've been working with him since he's been up last year. Especially in the power play when we need him in front. He has 12 goals, and last year he scored a few, and they're not 10 feet away, they're from in front of the net.

Laughs and complains at the Price and Chip question.

It was about the time we were thinking about it. If you look at Carey, we knew January would be an easier schedule, and that we wanted to give Price more ice time. Finally, the schedule was favourable to make a change, and we talked about it even before the Washington game.
Kyle had a very good beginning of the season, he was excited and was playing hard. But then I think he stabilized and the league kept getting better. It's something that always happens, and it's tougher when you're young. Kyle is an instinct player, and when you don't have confidence, it's harder to play. So he can go to Hamilton for the next four games... Hamilton's playing 4 games in 7 nights.

... Yeah, maybe, it's supposed to be temporary. They told us they'd be there for the next four games.

Yeah, I've been watching Corey for a while, and he's always been the best wherever he played. He's always found the way to score, in all his leagues, so it was important for me to give him a chance.

We want Kyle to come back strong. It's not just for the guys who are here. I think we're gonna have some players coming back in the next couple games, and I can't dress 20 players, so some of them are going to have to sit down, and they have to prove they want to be in the lineup.

Stay tuned...